The inaugural cycle of the Jimmy McIntosh Piobaireachd Scholarship was completed with a culminating piobaireachd workshop held the last weekend of February, at Carnegie Mellon University, writes Joyce McIntosh.
Thirty-two registered piobaireachd enthusiasts travelled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from eight different states to receive high-level tuition with Mike Cusack and Andrew Carlisle.
Each of the two scholarship winners played a tune he/she had learned over the eight-month course of the scholarship. This occurred at a regularly-scheduled gathering of the Pittsburgh Piping Society on the Friday evening, a free event in which any of the workshop attendees could participate, as well as numerous pipers from the Pittsburgh area. The featured piper for the evening was Mike Cusack, who gave us a fine performance, typical of his superior musical abilities.
Kudos to the leadership of the Pittsburgh Piping Society who organized the workshop logistics including name tags, welcome packets with class schedules, maps, dining options, a feedback survey and a writing pad. The structure and forward-thinking of the committee were beyond my highest expectations.
Over the course of a full day Saturday and half day Sunday, each attendee received three classes of practice chanter work and three master classes, with opportunities to play a tune on the pipes for critique from the instructors, with the rest of the class also learning from the comments.
There was a high level of playing during the weekend, as the workshop participants included multiple judges, including Gold Medalist Mike Rogers. This was in keeping with Jimmy’s philosophy that with piobaireachd, you are never finished learning.
The A class covered such classics as Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay, the Big Spree, Lament for the Children, Craigellachie, Scarce of Fishing, Lord Lovat’s Lament, and the Unjust Incarceration to name a few.
The Saturday session concluded with both scholarship winners, Emmitt LaBelle and Abby Long giving a recital for the assembled group, again playing new tunes. We were satisfied and impressed that both recipients demonstrated a deeper understanding and performance level of Ceol Mor, and clearly took full advantage of the instruction that was given over the eight-month period.
We have already received applications for the 2023-2024 cycle of the Jimmy McIntosh Piobaireachd Scholarship and will be announcing our winner in March. We would sincerely like to express our deep appreciation for the generous donations we have received from the from The Piobaireachd Society, and from the Dunedin Chapter of the New World Celts for the upcoming cycle.
If anyone is interested in donating even a small, tax-deductible amount towards this worthwhile effort to carry on Jimmy’s teaching of piobaireachd, please visit pittsburghpipingsociety.org and click on the scholarship tab. We hope to make this an annual event.
BALMORAL 2023 SUMMER PIPING & DRUMMING CAMPS
There are two camps in Pennsylvania – East Stroudsburg and Edinboro.for 2023. July 9-14, sees a return to the popular ESU campus in East Stroudsburg, PA. The week after, July 16-21, a camp will be held at PennWest in Edinboro. Both camps will feature a lineup of leading piping and drumming instructors:
Terry Tully (Piping ESU), Bruce Gandy (Piping ESU & PennWest), Derek Midgley (Piping ESU), Andrew Carlisle (Piping PennWest), Miles Bennington (Drumming ESU), Jon Quigg (Drumming PennWest) and Roderick MacLeod (Piping PennWest).
Both Balmoral camps provide opportunities for individual and group instruction, as well as camp-wide activities suitable for all ages. Staff piping instructors Sean Patrick Regan and Richmond Johnston will join Balmoral’s guest instructors. Registration is open and will close June 16, 2023. For more information or to register, please visit: www.bagpiping.org